COMMUNITIES NOW have more power to deal with local offenders thanks to new laws, a Community Safety Officer told the Saddleworth Homewatch Group.
Phil Bonworth visited the group at their March meeting to explain how criminal behaviour orders brought into force last October are combating anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.
He explained that legislation has been streamlined and six new powers have been added, including the ‘Community Trigger’ and ‘Community Remedy’ schemes.
The ‘Community Trigger’ gives victims of ASB the chance to force a case review if three complaints from one household are recorded in a month or five calls from one locality.
And the ‘Community Remedy’ gives victims a say in the punishment of the offenders out of court to ensure they get justice quickly.
Mr Bonworth, who works for the local authority across Saddleworth and Lees, Royton, and Shaw and Crompton, said: “It is about giving the community more control and power so they do not suffer.
“People wanted to see justice was being done but they weren’t always seeing that.
“Some people don’t want to drag the offenders through the courts but just want them to make right what they have damaged.
“Now, in cases of low-level crime or ASB, they can have a say in that and make the offender send an apology or put right what they damaged.”
A final civil injunction comes into place at the end of March alongside the criminal behaviour orders to help tackle the problems.
They can be used to impose restrictions on offenders – such as curfews, bans from certain areas, and to break up groups – in a bid to reduce crime.
They can be awarded to anyone over the age of ten years old but Mr Bonworth insisted steps to help offenders change their behaviour are taken too.
He said: “Some people do just need a bit of support to get themselves on the right path but that is not always the case.
“A lot of the powers might seem draconic sometimes but we will only use it when we have exhausted all over methods.
“Some people argue we are criminalising people but they are criminalising themselves with their behaviour as they are a blight on communities and that is why they have got the conviction.
“A lot of young people we with deal with have chaotic home lives and get no support. We can put in positive requirements such as making sure they go to school.”
To report anti-social behaviour, call the police non-emergency crime and anti-social behaviour number (24 hours a day, 7 days a week): 0161 872 5050.
You can also find out more about reporting anti-social behaviour on the Oldham Council website.